Accidents involving 18-wheelers and other large,commercial trucks are the source of life-altering injuries for individuals across Southern California every year. The simple fact is that the size and weight disparities between vehicles of this type and conventional passenger vehicles create a recipe for disaster resulting in permanent harm to far too many individuals.
Negligence on the part of truck drivers, trucking company operators, equipment manufacturers and others must not be allowed to go unanswered, particularly when the physical and financial impact of it places entire families in very real jeopardy. With that in mind, Los Angeles truck accident lawyer Sean F. Salamati provides aggressive advocacy designed to secure maximum compensation for victims of truck accidents.
Key truck accident statistics
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the majority of deaths in large truck accidents are in fact the occupants of passenger vehicles. Trucks typically weigh between 20 and 30 times as much as a typical passenger car, and their greater height and ground clearance can produce under-ride events which often prove catastrophic.
In 2013, 3,602 individuals were killed in commercial truck crashes. Of those deaths, sixteen percent were suffered by truck occupants, 67 percent by occupants of passenger vehicles and 15 percent by bicyclists, motorcyclists or pedestrians. With roughly 9.2 billion tons of commercial freight moving through the United States in a given year, it should come as no surprise that hundreds of truck-related fatalities and thousands of injuries occur within the state of California alone.
Causes of truck accidents
Despite the existence of stringent requirements for obtaining a commercial truck driver’s license, it is estimated that over 30 percent of all truck accidents are attributable to factors relating to driver error. Truck driver fatigue or drowsiness, impairment, inattention, distraction or lapses in judgment all contribute to the deadly nature of truck-related collisions.
In addition, common causes of truck accidents include:
- Dangerous right turns or swinging turns at intersections
- Inclement weather
- Poor road conditions
- Shifting of cargo causing dangerous imbalances
- Falling debris or road debris
- Poor vehicle maintenance
- Failures of critical truck components that lead to a loss of driver control
Safety standards imposed on truck drivers
Individuals who drive commercial trucks for a living must remain in compliance with federal laws and regulations promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which differ from the typical rules conventional motorists must follow. Truck drivers must adhere to specific guidelines concerning maximum allowable drive-time between rest periods, vehicle maintenance, weight allocation and the loading and unloading of freight.
Violation of any such rules leads to a legal presumption that a driver involved in a collision has been negligent in operating the vehicle at issue. When this occurs, victims will likely have a substantially reduced burden when it comes to establishing liability for harm done.
Liability in truck accidents
It is important for truck accident victims to realize that cases are highly complex and that there are a number of potentially liable parties from which compensation may be sought.
Truck drivers themselves can be held liable for negligent acts behind the wheel which resulted in harm to another, and their insurance carriers can be required to make substantial payouts to successful plaintiffs. However, truck drivers are not the only prospective defendants in a personal injury lawsuit, as responsible parties may also include:
- Trucking company operators
- Vehicle maintenance contractors
- Truck component suppliers
- Vehicle manufacturers
- Freight companies
The operators of commercial trucking firms can be held liable not only due to their own acts or omissions but also due to those of the individuals they employ. Designing and manufacturing components, vehicles and equipment found to be defective can result in liability for entities seemingly far-removed from the accident event itself.
An experienced truck accident attorney can provide a comprehensive review of the facts and determine which parties are potentially liable for damages.
Common truck accident injuries
It is impossible to overstate the potential for severe harm in accidents involving big trucks. Those in passenger vehicles as well as bystanders, road workers, pedestrians and bicyclists are all at risk. Some common injuries resulting from such crashes include:
- Bone fractures
- Traumatic brain injury
- Severe burns
- Spinal cord injury and paralysis
Compensation available to plaintiffs
Given the profound nature of the injuries frequently sustained in truck accidents, it is to be expected that the expenses associated with them will be similarly jarring. Estimates suggest that in 2011, the damage total for harm caused by commercial vehicles rose to approximately $87 billion.
The good news for victims is that the law does provide them with the ability to seek full and fair financial compensation.
Successful plaintiffs may be able to secure payment for:
- Current, future and past medical bills
- Rehabilitation and therapy services
- Accessibility modifications to personal residences
- Pain and physical suffering
- Emotional trauma and mental distress
- Loss of marital and/or familial relationships
- Lost wages
- Reduction in earning capacity
- Loss of financial support for dependents in wrongful death actions
- Funeral costs
Those injured in truck accidents need to realize, however, that even when the facts are on their side, securing an appropriate level of compensation from insurers and other responsible parties can be extremely challenging. It is unwise for victims to do battle with deep-pocketed defendants on their own.
Los Angeles personal injury attorney Sean Salamati is dedicated to serving the needs of those who suffered harm due to negligence, and has the resources to fight for maximum client recovery.
Committed advocacy for accident victims in LA
Attorney Sean Salamati understands the immense toll a truck accident can have on victims as well as their entire families. Pledging to provide an unsurpassed level of client service, he stands ready to undertake each aspect of your case, from the first stages of fact-finding to settlement negotiations with insurance carriers, and through to trial, should earlier resolution of the case prove impossible. Accessing his extensive network of medical experts, accident reconstruction specialists, engineers and legal support staff, Sean Salamati will marshal all critical evidence to build the most effective arguments on your behalf.
Because we accept most legal matters on a contingency basis, clients will owe no legal fees unless and until a financial settlement or favorable verdict is achieved. To schedule a no-cost, no-obligation initial review of your case, call 800-957-9898.